Journal of Applied Electrochemistry

, Volume 34, Issue 11, pp 1153–1158

Passivity and passivity breakdown of 304 stainless steel in alkaline sodium sulphate solutions

  • S. S. El-egamy
  • W. A. Badaway

DOI: 10.1007/s10800-004-1709-x

Cite this article as:
El-egamy, S.S. & Badaway, W.A. Journal of Applied Electrochemistry (2004) 34: 1153. doi:10.1007/s10800-004-1709-x


The passivity and passivity breakdown of 304 stainless steel were investigated in 0.25 M Na2SO4solutions of pH 10. The effect of applied potential and the presence of Cl ions in the electrolyte were also studied. Different electrochemical methods such as open circuit potential measurements, polarization techniques and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) were used. The results showed that the steel electrode passivates under open circuit conditions and also under potentiostatic control. The rate of passive film thickening under open circuit conditions follows a simple logarithmic law. Addition of Cl ion shifts the polarization curves in the active direction and above a critical chloride concentration, [Cl ] ≥ 0.15 M, pitting corrosion occurs and the pitting potential, Epit, decreases linearly with the logarithm of [Cl]. The addition of sulphate ions to the chloride-containing solutions was found to inhibit the pitting process, and at [SO2-4] ≥ 0.25 M, a complete immunity to pitting corrosion was recorded. The impedance measurements provided support for film thickening and film breakdown reactions. An equivalent circuit model which consists of a pure resistor, RΩ, in series with a parallel combination of a pure resistor, Rp, and a constant phase element, Q, was proposed to describe the electrode/electrolyte interface. The passive film thickness was found to increase with applied potential up to a critical value of 0.3 V. At higher voltages, breakdown of the passive film occured.

corrosioncorrosion inhibitionEISpassivationpittingstainless steel

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. S. El-egamy
    • 1
  • W. A. Badaway
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Science, Department of ChemistryCairo UniversityGizaEgypt